Atropine is a type of medicine called an antimuscarinic (or sometimes called an anticholinergic). It works by relaxing the involuntary muscle that is found in the walls of the stomach and intestines (gastrointestinal tract).
Atropine works by blocking receptors called muscarinic (sometimes called cholinergic) receptors that are found on the surface of the muscle cells in the walls of the gut. This prevents a natural body chemical called acetylcholine from acting on these receptors. Normally when acetylcholine acts on these receptors it causes the muscle in the gut to contract. By preventing this, atropine helps the muscle in the gut to relax. This reduces involuntary contractions and spasms of the muscle.
Spasms in the muscle of the gut wall can cause colicky abdominal pain, cramps, bloating, wind and discomfort. Atropine relieves these symptoms by relaxing the muscle.
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.
If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here, it does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine's manufacturer.
For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
It is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are already taking, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you start treatment with this medicine. Similarly, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medicines while using this one, to make sure that the combination is safe.
There may be an increased risk of antimuscarinic side effects, such as dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, difficulty passing urine and confusion in elderly people, if this medicine is taken with other medicines that have antimuscarinic effects, for example the following:
This medicine may reduce the effects of the following medicines:
If you experience a dry mouth as a side effect of this medicine you may find that medicines that are designed to dissolve and be absorbed from under the tongue, eg sublingual glyceryl trinitrate (GTN) tablets, become less effective. This is because the tablets do not dissolve properly in a dry mouth. To resolve this, drink a mouthful of water before taking sublingual tablets.
Atropine tablets are only available generically (ie without a brand name).